Tom Lawlor On Looking At His Time On ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ As A Positive, Taking Things Seriously

Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard

Tom Lawlor was two of the guest interviews on Matt Koon‘s latest episode of MLW Radio’s Total Engagement. In his first half of the interview, Lawlor talks about rooting for WWE rather than wanting to see it fail, his time on UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter, his WWE try-out back in the day and his flashy fight entrances and weigh-ins. Quotes from the interview are below.

(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone):

Tom Lawlor on wanting WWE to be the best that the product can be:

Sometimes Bryan [Alvarez] and I pick things apart. I’m still a fan a big time fan and of course I always look forward to seeing Daniel Bryan out there. I look forward to virtually everything, you know I want the WWE to be the best that it can. I think a lot of people listen to either Bryan or myself, or a number of people – Dave [Meltzer], Lance [Storm] anybody and think that like people on the Wrestling Observer website or Figure Four Online Wrestling website don’t want the WWE to succeed that’s the furthest thing from reality. I look forward to it all.

On if he grew up more of a fan of pro wrestling or MMA:

To me, they always just coexisted. Some people view them as separate entities, but in reality – combat sports. Boxing, mixed martial arts, pro wrestling they’re all birds of the same feather if you will, more so than being separate so I’ve been a fan of all those things. Kickboxing, K1, sumo, I mean I’m a fan of every combat sport you can think of.

On if  The Ultimate Fighter was his only option to get his was his only way into the UFC:

No not at all, but at that point it was the best way. [TUF] just is not what it used to be, but at that time it was the best option that you had, it was getting yourself on television and also getting yourself a foot in the door with the UFC.

On his WWE tryout:

I think maybe two years before I was in the UFC, I had a WWE tryout and basically, you know, same story as many other people: “Hey, we’ll call you back,” and then you know, “hey, we want you to work on some stuff and this and that and the future, we’ll get back to you” and you know I figured I’d rather do something where I could control my own destiny liked MMA not realizing that that’s not always the case.

It was at Deep South where they had Deep South as the developmental territory.

I was sent down there and I think I was the only guy there like trying out, running all the drills and stuff with the people. The rest of the guys were already under contract there wrestling.

On if he looks at The Ultimate Fighter as a positive experience:

Yeah, I guess so. Like I said it kind of hot-shotted me to where I wanted to be. You know there’s a lot of opportunities that I can look back now that I’m older and say that I floundered or that I’m the one that blew the opportunity. I was talking about judges in MMA deciding the fights, but you know fighters can always complain about the judges and fans kind of give them a little bit of leeway too as well, but I can always now go back and go ‘well you know what? I should have done more. I shouldn’t have gone out that night and partied, I should have taken my diet more seriously’ you know stuff like that. Whereas like before I couldn’t do that. So looking back now, I’m sure, I guess The Ultimate Fighter was a good experience but it’s the only one that I know so it got me to where I wanted to be at the time and you know I think it was the right choice for me at that time. It got me more fights and got me more over I guess with the UFC crowd because they got to see a little bit of my personality and see that I wasn’t just a stick in the mud like so many MMA fighters are when it comes to their ability to talk to people and just basically be a normal person.

On not taking himself too seriously and the perception of him not being ‘laser focused’:

I look at it very, very differently than that. The professional wrestling side of me that I brought was serious. I was doing that for a reason, I’m not stupid. And also, that also makes it sound like I didn’t take training seriously. If there’s one thing that I do take seriously when it comes to fighting or pro wrestling it is training. Maybe my diet sucks, maybe my sleep schedule sucks, maybe I don’t stretch or don’t take care of myself, or stuff like that, but I do take myself or my training very seriously.

On the creativity of his MMA entrances and weigh-ins:

Lawlor: Yeah, I’ve basically stolen other people’s stuff though so don’t give me too much credit here.

Matt: Well you didn’t invent The Shockmaster.

Lawlor: (Laughs) Exactly. Hulk Hogan entrance, the Apollo Creed entrance, everything that I’ve done that’s been good has been stolen. The Dan Severn weigh-in, Conor McGregor weigh-in, I mean there’s so many things, people always are ‘Wow, that’s so creative’ and it’s like, “Are you paying attention? Everything that I’ve done was stolen!”

Read More: ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor On Creative Challenges Of Gimmick Matches, Where MMA And Hardcore Fit Into Wrestling